The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has turned down a bid by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to develop 882 stands in Luveve 5 high-density suburb, arguing conditions attached to the project would short-change the local authority.
The project was estimated to cost $6,5 million.
According to its proposal document, NSSA wanted four officials on the project board with council represented by only two officials.
NSSA also wanted autonomy over appointment of design consultants with the State Procurement Board being tasked with the appointment of the project contractor.
But council’s Town Lands and Planning Committee turned down the proposal arguing the arrangement would result in the local authority tying its land to NSSA.
“When analysing the situation, it would appear that council would tie its land to NSSA,” the committee said. “The application by NSSA should not be acceded to instead residential stands should be pre-sold in order to raise funds for servicing.”
The matter stirred heated debate during a full council meeting on Wednesday evening after Ward 10 councillor Prince Dube sought to have the committee’s recommendation overturned.
“As a city, we know that NSSA exists in the Republic of Zimbabwe, and it has got a lot of money from employed people, Bulawayo included,” he said.
“If you look at its proposal, it (NSSA) wants to partner with the City of Bulawayo in ploughing back to the community by building houses for people. If we say NSSA shouldn’t develop these stands, they will take their money elsewhere. If we refuse this proposal, we will be wrong as a council because we will be turning down investment. I am asking this council to reverse the resolution by the committee.”
Ward 18 councillor Benjamin Ndlovu, however, said Dube was out of line by calling for the reversal of the committee’s resolution.
“I look at NSSA as a department that has failed people a lot,” he said. “People are suffering out there getting pensions that are not worth the paper they are written on. We cannot give them this land.”
Wards 6 councillor Jennifer Bent said: “Giving them land will be allowing them to continue doing what they are doing, which we don’t know what it is.”
Ward 27 councillor Siboniso Khumalo said NSSA had previously been allocated stands before but failed to service them.